American Express threatens me over joke on web site

On my rec.humor.funny web site, I maintain the newsgroup archives, including this 13 year old joke entitled American Expressway.

Today I got one of those bullying "cease and desist" letters from American Express's law firm, ordering me to take down the joke for trademark infringement. Here's the text of the cease and desist

Do these guys know who they are trying to bully? I guess not, here's my response to them:

You can "Screw More" with an American Express Lawyer

Do you know me?

I built a famous company with a famous name, and then satirists made fun of me by taking advantage of the constitutional protections afforded parody when it comes to trademark law?

That's why I retained Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd, the "American Express Lawyers." Should you ever feel your reputation lost or stolen by free speech and satire, just one call gets LVM to write a threatening cease and desist letter -- usually on the same day -- citing all sorts of important sounding laws but ignoring the realities of parody. Most innocent web sites will cave in, not knowing their rights. LVM will pretend it has never read cases like L.L. Bean, Inc. v. High Society and dozens of others. There's no preset limit on the number of people you can threaten, so you can bully as much as you wish.

After all, Being Giant and Intimidating has its Privileges.

American Express Lawyers: Don't leave your home page without them.

For more examples of such games, check out our joint project with the Berkman center to document them: Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. And yes, Mastercard pulled the same stunt several years ago.


A corporation a person? -- can it be elected to public office? keep and bear arms? jailed? Executed? Retired at age 65? Be held for 72 hours for mental status evaluation when its behavior causes its sanity or judgment to be legally in question? Judged incompetent to handle its own affairs? Required to give a urine sample if a vehicle under its control is driven in an erratic manner? Bleed? Show a sense of humor? Pass a Turing Test?

"Why is it a privilege for a soldier to die for your country, but a burden for a corporation to pay taxes?"

I'm waiting for american express to threaten me with legal action. Will be good fun to go into court and show the world how they held my $20,000.00 for 5 months while all the time denying that they did ot have it because my check dishonored, hell it was a bank draft; on top of all that they tried to get me to think that I was partly to blame, no way I'll accept that way that they think, because they can't think, they haven't got the brain power to even raise a sweat if it comes to that. Then they lied to ,me, very silly of them to do it in writig, so have them by the shoryt hairs if they want to try to take me on. They will lose, but I will have good fun making them lose. Have already posted them on an austtralian website named not good enough, they have fun with the likes of amex when they do things like that they did to me. I want compensation from them for the added expenses that I had to incur because of them, plus the fact that I could not use my cards on recent overseas travel, couple that with the discrediation of my good name, and they will have to compensate me; they just want to make a token gesture, but I want what they cost me and a good will gesture on top. anybody wans to know what it's all about, mail me on, and I will tell you and name names

I was a Gold Card member since 1984. Never failed to pay my bill off every month. I own outright my home ($350,00.00), 10-plex, 4-plex, 3 rent houses, vacant land, 5 vehicles--all paid with no mortgages. My stock market investments are only 58% of what they were December, 2008, but I am still above the national average in savings. I do have one house in my name that actually belongs to a (former?) friend that is severely in arrears, but not in foreclosure. AmEx canceled my card without prior notice. I was embarassed to have my card rejected for a small purchase. I guess I had not earned the privilege of providing them with a financial statement to assure them of my solvency despite the bad glitch on my credit report. Apparently they can check your credit report even though AmEx does NOT report to credit bureaus.

I have had my card since 1988, I went to get gas last night and the card would not work.
I called and was informed my account had been canceled. My credit score is over 800 and I have never once been late in paying my balance in full. How can you take bailout money and then shut off your customers lines of credit I hope AMEX goes under!

I agree a 110% !

Recently we have lost all of our investments due to the state of the economy. I have been self employed successfully for almost twenty years. The reason ? Perfect customer service. Well, on to Amex.
Before we started to have financial problems I wanted to start paying off my credit cards. (big mistake by the way) So, I started with my Amex account. Well, you know. Because of all their wonderful customer service and all. (ya, right). I was already 2 months behind, and my balance was almost $4,000 to the penny. So, I call customer service and get the typical robot. Hello, I need to use "flex pay". (now here is where you read like a robot) I am sorry sir. Your account is past due, and we do not offer this to late accounts. (me) May I please speak with your supervisor? (robot) please hold sir. (head robot) sorry sir, Your account is past due, and we do not offer this to late accounts.

Long story short, I tried this not once, not twice, but three times to no avail. Well, off to the collection department it went. A few months more, and off the outside collection agency it went. Now, by this time the bill was a bit over $5,000 dollars. You know, legal fees and all. (worst than the Mafia). A few more months pass and I receive an offer I cant refuse !! Wow, I can pay off this debt for $1,400 !!!!
So I call and here is what I say; "hello. I am calling about this great offer ! (robot) can I have the account number on the letter please ? (me) No, not yet. I explain the above story in short. (robot) I can help you better if you could please give me the account number sir. (me) Uh no, I'm not done yet. As I proceed to finnish my story, I end it with "now you get nothing", and hang up.

I think it should be legal to sue companies that run misleading commercials. Watch how fast those would stop !

At least the mob was upfront about taking money you owed.

These monsters should be jailed, all of them.

Hey dumb ass... you were late paying them back. Although American Express has mistreated me terribly, I wouldn't feel right calling them "monsters" for charging late fees or trying to collect on accounts like yours that are ADMITTEDLY what, like 10-12 months behind? Loser. Pay the bill. Then you can call them names.

I wouldn't call you a deadbeat just for getting yourself into a situation where you can't pay some of your bills. I know that it can happen to honest people. But you, sir, are a deadbeat for calling them "monsters" after not making payments for nearly a year. Sorry, didn't mean to make you feel bad. Go listen to an Obama speech, it'll cheer you up. He shares your disdain for evil successful corporate "monsters" like American Express.

One more thing... Maybe if there weren't so many people out there like you who take advantage of American Express by not paying back (stealing) several thousand dollars, then people like me who charge (and never fail to pay back) fifty to a hundred plus thousand dollars per month would get better service and better terms.

I and American Express think that you and your ilk are the monsters.

Joel, your comments were quite harsh. Bragging about your fifty to a hundred thousand dollar spend doesn't do you any favours either. I owed American Express several thousand dollars and due to a car accident, I was unable to work, and therefore, unable to meet my financial obligations. Every other bank and financial institution that I owed money to was very understanding, not AmEx. They threatened me with bankruptcy. Not to be contented with refusing an offer of token payments until I am (hopefully) rehabilitated, they decided to hand my account over to a collection agency the very week that I was in hospital receiving treatment. I will one day when I am physically able to work again, if AmEx don't bankrupt me first, pay all my creditors back, but I really sincerely hope that they go bankrupt themselves and are not bailed out by the US government.

If you feel that closing your credit account will teach those big banks a lesson, think again. Most of these monster banks are hoping people who pay every month, never late or carry small balances on high limit cards close. These companies have to carry insurance on every dollar they loan or can be loaned. The best way to stick it to them is to pay off a card keep it open and do a transaction or two a month for very small amounts then pay them off immediately. AMEX has been offering $300.00 to certain types of clients to close their accounts, mostly people in good standing limits over 15k and low balances. I recently called about a rate increase and was asked if I would like to close my account. When I asked them to reduce my rate I was told it isnt in the best interest of AMEX to do that. They can kiss my lilly white ass. I will not close my account. I did pay off the balance and they will insure my 20k dollar credit limit as long as I live.

A home in serious delinquency? What exactly did you expect !?!?!?

There is an excellent documentary out titled "The Corporation". It's a very interesting, yet scary, show about how the corporation came about and the rights it has. It is in a sense a person and has the rights as such.

AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD? TEAR IT UP. DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR COMMERCIALS. I cancelled an order in India within 24 hours, called and notified AmEx. Then I got the charge amount as $10K instead of the $1K. AmEx put the matter into dispute for months-nearly 18 months. I notified AmEx that this was an attempt to defraud, that I did not have the goods that were to be delivered in 4-6 weeks. They were not. And now AmEx has sued me for $10K!

The tale of corporate personhood is sordid and depressing:

Unfortunitely Corperations are considered to have the same rights as any individual under the law.

Good work facing down the fascist though... keep it up.

While corps aren't *people*, I do believe they are treated as an *individual* in certain areas of law. But I ain't a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV. This is from

A legal entity, allowed by legislation, which permits a group of people, as shareholders (for-profit companies) or members (non-profit companies), to create an organization, which can then focus on pursuing set objectives, and empowered with legal rights which are usually only reserved for individuals, such as to sue and be sued, own property, hire employees or loan and borrow money. Also known as a "company." The primary advantage of for profit corporations is that it provides its shareholders with a right to participate in the profits (by dividends) without any personal liability because the company absorbs the entire liability of the organization.

Remember the following mantras:

1) Corporations are not citizens.

2) Corporations have no rights.

3) Corporations deserve no rights, or protections.

4) Corporations have no right to make or enforce laws.

You've done good patriotic duty defending your country from the corporate enemy, in this case, American Express. Keep the above in mind, and you will never do disservice to your country.

I cannot believe that they would send you a letter on such a stupid topic! I read both the joke and american express letter. Doesn't american express have any real jobs for their lawyers?! To waste time on something this ignorant and to threaten people just because they can.. I closed my account with them today after reading this! I don't want to be associated with a corporation that is so out of touch. It is funny how american express financial has no drug testing and knowing allows certain people level 7 and 8's (in Minneapolis)to handle customer calls yet make a big deal out of a joke on your site!

No, they have more money than time. They also need to "teach you a lesson" ! Its the sam a the mob sending out a strong arm to get the word across.

Amex does drug testing apparently because they prefer employees who are naturally stupid. Their leaders are as ignorant as they are arrogant and darn proud of it.

Actually while I am in profound agreement with Mr. or Ms. American "Corporations" did manage to get themselves rights under the US Constitution. I think that was... in the 70s? I think that date marked the beginning of the end for the United States.


2) Corporations have no rights.


I like:

2) Corporations have no civil rights or human rights?

my sociology of law class says that corporations are legal people....just with a far greater organizational mass, and therefore with preferable treatment by the law. considering the most common action taken by regulatory commissions - whose sole function is to keep tabs on companies - is a "warning without fine," i'd say the system's fucked.

If anything, the original 13-year old
joke, for me, reinforced AE's trademark
in a positive way. Sadly, Leydig, Voit
& Mayer, Ltd.'s letter to R.H.F. did
significant injury to their client's
trademark and reputation.

Except for credit'ing R.H.F. for a
good joke, it's not clear how R.H.F.
is providing a similar service as AE -
unless Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd. are,
in fact, stating by introduction of
their letter, that AE's business
model is a joke...

Help us!

We need heros to defend our human rights. Few of us have the profile or resources to smite Goliath.

The evil animated corporate AI big brother will reduce us all to mill tailings if you do not take up the torch and lead us to burn the corporate heretic.

I am a Man, I am liable to the ultimate degree. Corporations are not. A man faces a man bravely, but those who hide behind corporations are cowards.

The only reason they don't sue everyone is because most of us have not enough to make it worthwhile.

Corporatism is why GW Bush thinks the USA has the right to dictate "freedom and democracy" on their terms to the whole world.

I object.

Keep on trucking. You should establish a defense fund, I will contribute.

Death to all corporations! If a business is not good enough for a Man to stand up and accept responsibility for it's actions, it has no right to exist at all in the presence of a real free human being. I dare them to pass a law saying it ain't so.

Let's put a face on this travesty. Where is the foolish man who would defend this, to his own detriment?

We must win this one, or all men may become chattels of corporations, powerless slaves.

Maybe you should form a corporation specifically to defeat the human race, as parody?

Good luck.

Terry K Spragg.

I suggest you read "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic" by Jerome Alexander. These are the musings of a real corporate heretic. He must be hated by the arrogant, egotistical, jerks who manage companies.

Oh look, another big bad corporation coming down hard on the little guy. Or maybe it's just a web spider combined with an overworked, underpaid law clerk?

Perhaps a simple "Hey this is satire, not advertising" reponse would be more appropriate than all of this rabid frothing about the mouth?

This is a great time to link to this article and include "Leydig, Voit & Mayer" in your web page. Potential clients should be aware of their brilliant legal strategy and public relations.

It is unclear to me if the original joke is a parody. It doesn't seem to be parodying American Express as much as it is using the American Express theme to make a joke about highways?

In reply to ankh: To be fair to corporations, a lot of so-called "humans" wouldn't pass the Turing Test either. :-)

Hulk think Brad have Big Balls.
Hulk think Brad's response is funny.
Hulk get angry at these puny human lawyers.
Hulk get strong when Hulk get angry.
Hulk want to SMASH them.

Hulk say great job Brad!

Hulk have problem with hitting "Post" button only once. Hulk have poor impulse control.

Terry Spragg writes:
> Corporatism is why GW Bush thinks the USA has
> the right to dictate "freedom and democracy" on
> their terms to the whole world.

You had me up until then, I almost thought you were human. Tell us the truth, you're a Chatbot or a net-spider, aren't you? Your programmed socialist micro-view is laughable and removes you from the Turing Test.

Bush didn't invent the idea, and it is not solely a Republican (as opposed to "conservative") idea/ideal. I woudn't doubt it if most of the politicians are corporations, or at least backed by corporations. Think of it, it doesn't matter WHO wins any nomination, if you (as a corp) can get them to pretend that you exist.

Remember, there's a reason our "justice system" is called "criminal."

Be careful. The legal system doesn't work. The guy with the most money wins, because the legal costs are so high.

Alas, "Patriotic American," while perhaps morally and logically correct, is legally wrong.

"1) Corporations are not citizens."

Corporations have been legal persons under SCOTUS fiat since the 1860's or so. See Korten's WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD.

"2) Corporations have no rights."

The same ruling gave coporations more rights than their employees and other citizens.

"3) Corporations deserve no rights, or protections."

While this may be true, rarely does the law concern itself with "deserve."

"4) Corporations have no right to make or enforce laws."

But they can buy them for the price of a few senators and representatives.

"You've done good patriotic duty defending your country from the corporate enemy, in this case, American Express. Keep the above in mind, and you will never do disservice to your country."

H3ll yes! It's always good to see the bullies, who stack the deck in their favor, lose a round. Now, if we could just undo that part about Corporations being legal persons ...

Funny that the Amex lawyer didn't even try doing a modicum of research before threatening you.

BTW, aren't threats of frivolous litigation themselves actionable?


Lame move by American Express. I know it was their lawyers who did it. However, I would hope at least they would know the law. I can only assume they did know this was legal and were "bullying".

I'm going to consider closing my American Express account in protest.

We take it all back! We were just kidding. Please continue your parodies.

President, American Express

One thing nobody has commented on is that BY LAW companies have to sometimes act like dicks to defend their trademark rights.

The rule with trademarks is use it (AND DEFEND IT) or lose it. Aspirin used to be trademark of Bayer in America. Zipper was another trademark. But if a trademark holder does not VIGOROUSLY defend its trademark against infringers, it can lose it. That's what happened with Aspirin and Zipper.

It's also why years ago there were commercials starring Robert Young telling a frazzled friend to try, "SANKA brand decaffeinated coffee." Nobody talks like that in real life. But they do in a commercial for a product whose name is in danger of becoming a generic term for decaff.

From C&D: "Your unauthorized use of AMERICAN EXPRESSWAY, a mark virtually identical to our client’s AMERICAN EXPRESS mark, is likely to cause consumers to be confused, mistaken, or deceived as to the source of origin of your services."

This is where they sure got the point... I'm so confused, mistaken or deceived that I will sure use Brad's services instead of theirs (for now by adding it to my favorite sites, but please send me application form when you start issuing your card).

Good work Brad!

The briefest of web searches reveals that there is
- an "All American Expressway" in Fayetteville
- an "American Expressway" in Ft. Lauderdale, and
- a "Pan American Expressway" in San Antonio.

I wonder if those city governments have heard from LVM?

They haven't yet, but they will now. Thanks Mark!

Aspirin (and interestingly, Heroin) were trademarks that Bayer AG was forced to relinquish as one of many punitive reparations at the end of WWI.

Secondly, parody has been determined to not infringe trademark.

I think you should be sued for storing such a bad joke for these past 13 years...oh those wasted bytes!

An excellent thread! I'm delighted to have set the tone for discussion by getting in the first comment.

Yes, I know that by legal tradition corporations are considered citizens since shortly after the Civil War. But that doesn't mean it is right or sensible. We American Citizens need to start challenging this legal travesty.

I know it's politically incorrect to defend the US Constitution these days, but could someone show me where in that sacred document that a corporation has so much as a right to exist, let alone rights and priviliges?

And will someone explain why corporations have rights, but no responsibilities? For example, if a corporation is a citizen, then if it murders a human (or another corporation!) it should be eligible for the death penalty. How would you go about executing a corporation?

Being a citizen means having rights AND responsibilities. If a corporation cannot be punished, like a human citizen, for failing at responsibility, it cannot be a citizen.

By the way, my email got mangled at the first post. Hopefully it's correct here.

Remember where the word corporation comes from; the very definition pretty much grants it rights analogous to a person. US case law has supreme court rulings defining a corporation as equivilant to a person as far back as the nineteenth century.

Now personally I think this is crazy, but this is not only how it is, but it is how it has been for a long time.

I guess the analogue of the death penalty for a corporation would be for the state to assume ownership of it, auction off its assets, and then compensate first the bond-holders and second the shareholders in proportion to their stake in the corporation. An analogue of imprisonment might be to replace the elected board with state-appointed managers for a limited period of time. There is also the wide-open world of community service possibilities, which has been reluctantly explored by the US in some of its Microsoft settlements IIRC.

Unfortunately, the legal system lacks the balls to really use these punishments against corporations very often, in sharp contrast to how it treats some poor slob who forgot to renew his driver's license or pay his parking tickets.

Oh my! AE has gone too far. If I ever wanna get rid of my AE Optima card, and I've been thinking of doing just that, I have a great excuse to tell their customer support. I can see it now, "Either you publicly allow the RHF to post their American Expressway joke or you lose my business."

If I ever had to choose between the 2, my choice would be easy. I've had an Optima card since 1994. I've been reading RHF since 1990. I'll stick with RHF.

I think that, since corporations want to play at being people, we should arrest them every time they make another company go out of business. After all, isn't that murder by any other name?

It's like this:

A corporation is born when it is created.

A corporation lives, grows, and eats.

A corporation can die also.

When one corporation uses an idea that another corporation says it owns - it is considered stealing.

The only thing corporations don't want to face up to - is when it kills another business. I think that, given that corporations want to be treated as people, we should not hold back on any of the aspects that a regular person has to face. Especially rape, robbery, and murder. Rape is by forcing another company to submit to your way of doing something. Robbery is taking something by force or stealth. Murder is by removing the other company so it no longer exists.

I LIKE companies to be treated as fellow human beings for these very reasons. What is called competition by them, when taken too far, becomes something else totally different.

Want to know how to kill a company? Keep diverting its attention from making money by throwing one lawsuit after another at it. That is how you kill it. Want to get rid of, say, Microsoft? File lawsuits in every state in the nation at the same time. Or every country around the world. All of their hard earned money will be spent trying to take care of all of them. Do it long enough (and not as a class action suit so they can lump them together) and they will just collapse under the weight of all of those lawsuits. :-)

Take something of theirs which doesn't work, file a claim in small claims court, ask for triple damages under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (because they said it would work and it didn't) and they are out three times the value of what you paid for it.

What a bunch of morons, digging up a 13 year old parody. They're causing far more damage (?) than a joke ever could.

Seems like Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd is having a slow month and needs to justify their high fees with frivolous claims. Perhaps someone at AMEX should review its contract with these jokers.

>> Leydig.. eh Voit I've figured out a way to make quota this quarter...
>> Voit.. holy motions lets apply this to the AMEX account

In response to the comment that corporations were formed by cowards: Corporations are formed because people don't want to go bankrupt if some wacko sues them and wins, receiving multi-millions in damages. Would YOU want to be held personally and financially responsible for the faulty design of engineers who work for you if the design resulted in lives lost, a public relations nightmare, and class action lawsuits? Consider how lawsuit-happy our society is today. It started with corporations not acting responsibly. So people had to sue to get any kind of restitution or justice. Which drives more businesses to incorporate to achieve personal non-liability status. Which increases the likelihood of people being forced to sue for redress of grievances. Which drives more businesses to incorporate.... and so on in a vicious cycle.
I'm not defending corporations for their trigger-happy lawyer-siccing, but I wanted to point out that the individual is more powerful than we think. Powerful enough, that a corporation becomes afraid of losing goodwill if any of its trademarks are mischeviously used even once in the silent, yet strangely communicative void of the world wide web.

this discussion reminded me of this...

A sobering quote by Abe Lincoln:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)

Excellent thread (and of course I meant 1870s, harumph).

And thanks for the quote, HonestAbe, yikes...

And finally what most bothers me is that in some quarters (even dimes) organizing in unions or by other means is seen as unAmerican or just plain whimpy because The Individual(TM) is supposed to go stand up to The Corporation as an equal and win the conflict by being your basic Ubermench, or something... that DOESN'T WORK, folks, you're outnumbered, (except in parody cases... how the hell did I get here?).

Basically even though corporations have the right to free speech just like you and doesn't mean they ARE just like you and me... Ayn Rand is a nut case.


The Lincoln quote is phony.

is the practice of sending out these letter actually legal? surely in cases where the recipient is well within their rights such letters are some form of legal harassment that needs to be stopped?

The comment that ...

"Your unauthorized use of AMERICAN EXPRESSWAY, a mark virtually identical to our client's AMERICAN EXPRESS mark, is likely to cause consumers to be confused, mistaken, or deceived as to the source of origin of your services."

... is certainly one of the most ludicrous things I've read recently. Have these people had their sense of humour surgically removed? If the letter had been dated April 1st instead of April 13th I would have assumed that it was an April Fool joke.

If they push forward with this, I'll certainly be one of (I presume) many people cutting up their Amex cards and telling them to get stuffed.


If it's the death penalty then surely the shareholders would get nothing. Otherwise it's no punishment at all, and the shareholders could just form a new company with the cash to carry on business.

The current attitude is the criminal convictions translate into fines. If the fine's big enough to bankrupt the company then that's the death penalty.

Except they never are big enough to deter the behaviour, let alone bankrupt the company. Microsoft loses its court case and but the fine is small enough they could budget to lose a court case every few years and still be more profitable than god...

You've got our support!

Corporations might be considered "persons under the law" with all the greed and cold-bloodedness this entails. But should corporations show the flip side of humanity, compassion and and honesty (especially when dealing with single individuals), then they might get my support. As it stands, corporations have neither earned nor deserve the respect they are getting from judges and lawyers. They are lifeless machines whose sole purpose is to gobble up everything (and everyone) in its sight.

Subject: American Expressway
Date: Saturday, April 17, 2004 12:22 AM

Some joker has posted on the Internet, at, a fake letter, putatively from you, that makes you and your firm all look like a bunch of jerks. Thought you ought to know about that. Sorry you have to suffer such abuse.

E-mailed Anne E. Naffziger, LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD:

"Please let me know if you didn't actually send this alleged C & D, wouldn't want your reputation tarnished if this idiotic C & D was a joke."

>> Aspirin used to be trademark
>> of Bayer in America

Bayer was a German company, and we took Aspirin from them as spoils of war (remember, we fought them a couple of times in the first half of the twentieth century). They didn't lose it per se, it was taken from them..

Bayer also owned the trademark on Heroin (Diacetyl Morphine).

Unless the phrases are specifically trademarked (and last I checked, they weren't), AmEx has no legal standing to order the C&D...

As someone else mentioned, seems like a case of no-sense-of-humor...

Maybe the geniuses at LVM should take a look at how american express financial services division (AEFA) has been SCREWING it's clients for year after year. If the american regulatory agencies such as the SEC were not such a joke these filth would all be in jail.

I hate them ere corporations. They think they can bully us around with ere fancy dancy laws and lawyers. i think thay have another thing coming

I'm sorry to join this thread almost a year late, but I just had to comment on two things.

1) The text of the cease and desist letter proves once and for all that laywers have no sense of humor! They actually seemed to think that "American Expressway" was a real company/service provided. Otherwise, what "service" could actually be confused? I don't think the lawyers are bad people or are trying to harrass anyone, they just don't have any sense of funny.

2) Bayer AG was forced to give up its trademark of "Aspirin" after WWI? Interesting, since they still put the little R in a circle after the word here in Germany! I think someone forgot to tell them!

Can't believe they could be bothered to threaten over this 'joke.' I have had a gold card since 1982 and when in Australia in 2000 I attempted to buy a $7,000AU (approximately $7,000 Canadian) car with my AMEX card. I was denied because it was outside my spending pattern and I had been late paying in October...$1,600 (I mistakenly filed bill without paying but paid in full on next invoice over $4,000 and paid December before leaving for Australia before the bill statement had been posted). I have been late, but always pay in full. I got the mumble jumble about outside my usual spending patterns (I had $30,000 in an AMEX savings account and when they learned that, they were going to use it as collateral, but couldn't access my account number). I ended up paying cash and using MasterCard to make up the difference...MasterCard was great! Meanwhile the saga continues with me writing 3 letters to them and them finally offering me a free year on the card fees and 10,000 points...11,000 points gets me a toaster. The screw-up with AMEX cost 7 days sitting at my friends home hundereds of miles away and then backtracking to the dealer to complete the car transaction. Next time I leave home, it will be WITHOUT my AMEX will be replaced with a Visa card.

True definition of the word waste:

44 Passenger bus full of lawyer going over a 100 ft cliff and having three empty seats.

American Express SUCKS!!! Find out why - visit

Hmmm, I see the joke and the Cease and desist letter are still posted. Are you taunting AMex and their lawyers?


Way To go AmEx.....cOntinue destroying the US middle class Why Don't You OutSource 99.9 % Of Jobs Including ken'S!!!!!!!!

Take this then ...

Upgrade an AMEX from GOLDEN to PLATINUM, the software will automatically cancel the Golden one if you have no debts and that's all. They didn't re-compensate back the money you already paid at the beginning of the year. In my case I paid in July 2007 130 for Golden Amex ( one year fee), in Jan 2008 I applied for Platinum based on the forms they send me , I never used Golden but only today May 3-rd 2008 and to discover that the payment was refused , I payed by debit card and when I get back home I called them and find out what is wrong with the card. I ask them WHEN and WHO canceled the card .. THEY DID , WHEN they canceled ? .. IN JANUARY, it means that I paid 130 for a year they own back me the amount between Jan and Jul ( around 65$ half of the year). In the phone conversation I get the money with no resistance from AMEX which proves that they recognize their mistake, but my next question was why your software didn't do that automatically ... Hm it is easy because foolish my loss and them win free money. .... ok but how much per year , If a million switch a year they win in average 65 millions, ( I consider that some might do that at the begging of the period some at the end so it is and average).

I do not think this is fair either. .... and the authorities should force them to refund the money back.

Yo Brad:

Amex is one of my least favorite Corporations but you really need to get with the program. Trademark infringement is what it is and you sir, have committed same. If we didn't have the laws that we do, there would be absolute pandemonium (not that it doesn't seem that way now) in the business world. The same protections that extend to Amex also extend to you & I, should we need them.

Sorry you take umbrage to this...


Can't believe they would send a C&D letter over that joke.

Likely just an attempt to bully you which AMEX is real good at doing, IMO. They certainly have bullied me a lot recently.

Just one more of many sad stories out there demonstrating how American Express sucks big time in the view of many folks.

P.S. Hopefully this will fixes url typo in last post which can be deleted.

Why Does AMEX continue getting business, I wish I would have read more before getting the card not too long ago. I had some issues that are annoyingalready since getting my first amex.
It seems there are a lot of legit complaints and customer service issues, which raises the question why then do celeberties like Ellen ( Ellen Show ) promote such an evil company. I mean it seems they are really evil. I know their customer service sucks because I have used it. They froze my account because they wanted to verify my being me. which they could have called like other companies do when I travel and make charges outside CA. I get a call asking me if I have used my card at xyz location and then there is no problem. Amex on the other hand just cancells it and makes you look bad. So many complaints and problems but no one taking up arms, just a lot of jib jab is what I see. If I had the finances I'd spend time looking into ways to make a difference but instead I just voice my discontent like everyone else here. They just asked me for 3 years taxes a form allowing them to request my taxes from the IRS...why the F%^&*K would they need that kind of information? If I do not provide this they will cancel my card. To which I added I am sharpening my knife to cut the card up into tiny pieces as we speak.
My conclusion Amex is a bully, Customer Service sucks, and no one can stop them. Where are all the BS superheroes on tv that everyone talks so much about. we live in a fantasy world with real threats like AMEx. what a shame. maybe someone will go postal and show up at Amex, that would make for a great read.

American Express should not have the right to have American in it's name! The same as the rest of the comments we used our card all the time with $50,000 plus balances and never had a late payment. Then as the economy slowed we used it less so we would always be able to pay the bill. Now they have given us a limit even though they don't have limits, work that one out, and we had a charge of less than $200 refused. No we will not use it again. Not even when the economy turns and they start giving everybody and their dog a card again. Also as they were taking more and more tax dollars our interest rate has almost doubled on our American Express card, it was 8.75% last November and now it is 15.99%

We are the ones that allow Amex to do this, if we all stopped using the card they would have to change their ways. As a start to the cause I have stopped using all of my Amex cards. I will also tell anyone I know to stay away from them. The only way they will change is if their bottom line PROFFIT changes!

We did and the goverment started funding them. So now they are back to there old ways

I find it funny that American Express is worried about your joke slandering them? Arent they doing a good enough job of that themseleves by the way they are treating their "good customers" They cut my credit limit to the balance I current owe, it is the only time in 4 years I have carried a balance with out paying it off monthly. I have never been late. Evidently they saw we have been been running up one of our other credit cards for a business that we are starting. I guess that's not OK to do in america any more. I cancelled the card (they didnt care) and am going to pay off the balance with my next commission. I will never do business with them again! Oh and to top it off they increased my rate from 8% to 12%. They are truly the most UNAMERICAN company I have ever dealt with, the fact that they call themselves American Express is a stain on America!

Pretty much every major credit card company has been cancelling cards in the UK because they don't make enough money off good customers who pay back promptly. They want you fluid but debt ridden so they can topslice your income in perpetuity. Threaten that and you're a heretic.

The biggest current threat to business and society is big business believing it's a law unto itself and creating hugely unfair wage differentials. Personally, I'd rate this threat higher than organised terrorism. Who screams against change the most? Mostly, the powerful and connected losers of change.

In the UK the CEO of one of the biggest credit card companies didn't have a credit card and privately called people who did mugs. This sounds a bit too much like big tobacco and climate change denial for comfort. No suprise these people can be found funding the Republicans and Tories with their dirty money.

Just say no.

To say that American Express is not an American company is more correct than you may know. Over a decade ago they began tossing their American employees out and replacing them with Indian contractors who were brought to this country on work visas. They weren't taking jobs that Americans didn't want (if such a thing actually exists). They were taking good to high-paying technology and finance jobs. And, then it happened slowly but surely and unpredictable only to utter idiots. The contractors became the experts of the realm of their responsibilities and to ensure control over that expertise, the company hired them as employees. Indian non-managers became managers and then vice presidents and then senior vice presidents. Today, the average American would be hard pressed to readily pronounce the names of most of the resources who now occupy the offices and cubes at American Express' American sites. The best part is that they forgot to leave their discriminatory, classist beliefs at the airport. So, not only are these American sites run by non-Americans, the nature of the working environments is distinctly non-American. Manipulation, cronyism and oppression (particularly of women) reign. Our government leaders talk about job creation. How can they not know that simply by putting controls on H1B1 visas, they would make tens of thousands of jobs once again available to Americans -- the people who made this company and the people who still represent their greatest revenue pool?

I work at Amex. You are right the place is full of Indians and many of the senior managers are indians. I know plenty of high quality americans out of work but they won't even consider them. Nope they just have another foreigner flown over for lower wages, no benefits, and scared to death to ever disagree with their treatment. The cafeteria has two different servings of Indian food every day which is no wonder because at least 80% of the workers are Indian. It's sickening and disgraceful. They should change their name to Indian Express. Where is the government enforcement of the H1-B labor laws?

Indian Express is the name even some of there SVP's call it these days behind closed doors. Its like an Apathic Titanic blundering towards oblivion hoping a naive Ramanjuan will rescue there next bonus cycle.

AMEX has lost my business FOREVER! I agree they either need to go out of business or change the "American" part of their name - cause they don't belong in this country ... I have been a loyal client since 1983 ! Yes, 1983! So MUCH FOR BEING GOOD TO YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS. I have to believe that it won't be long and they will be toast for treating their best customers ridiculously bad. Have a nice day, Jerks!
No more business for you and I will make sure to tell thousands about your treatment of your best customers. (free advertising - LOL) Adios!

Time for the red sharpie.... In your best and largest penmanship you should have written "FUCK YOU. Nasty letter to follow..." and returned it to sender!

I haven't been an American Express card holder for very long but thought having one was a good idea for the 'consumer protections' their cards are supposed to offer (gold card).

In September 2009 I booked a reservation on Expedia for a week long stay in a hotel supposedly near Leesville La (it was in Alexandria). Later when I discovered that it was really an hour away I tried to change my reservation; it was then that I found out that my reservation was non-refundable.

My first reaction was Wait a minute!.. I didn't see anything about that on Expedia's website! The robo-customer service human said oh, it's in the hotel rules.
So I pulled up the itinerary online. It wasn't on the checkout page but there was a link for hotel rules. I clicked on it.
I still don't see that it's non refundable; only that Super 8 charges a cancellation fee:

We understand that sometimes plans fall through. We do not charge a cancel or change fee.
However, Super 8 Alexandria I 49 has cancellation and change fees that we are required to pass on. See Super 8 Alexandria I 49 change and cancellation policies

So I click on the 'cancellation fee' link (we're now 3 levels deep) and that important detail is revealed in ***ultra fine print***:

This reservation is non-refundable and cannot be changed or cancelled.
Canceling your stay: Cancellations can be made online. From your itinerary, click the How to cancel this hotel reservation link and follow the instructions.
Changing your stay: To make changes, please call 1-800-EXPEDIA

Look for yourself (I printed the checkout page 3 times after drilling down):

I called up Expedia first nice and then irate. They refused to cancel the reservation and said the hotel was the only one that could do so. I tried at least 20 times to 'talk to the manager' to cancel and whenever I called (day and night) he was never 'available'. I ended up booking and staying in another hotel in Leesville (NOT on Expedia).

Anyway here's where AMEX comes in...
I call up and dispute the charges, they had an 'investigation', and 15 days later I get the result: since I didn't cancel the reservation I had to pay it.
I filed a second dispute providing the information above and they came to the same conclusion again.

I'm out almost $500 for a crappy hotel I never stayed in that was given 7 days notice that I wouldn't be staying there.
I closed my AMEX account today; if they can't protect me from being ripped off they're worthless.

AMEX costs more to have, costs more to accept, and I'll never use or ACCEPT AMEX for payment ever again.

I have found myself in the same boat as many others. I guess American Express is trying to get rid of good costumers. I have had there card for awhile. I always pay it off right away. Was an easy way to get something I need right away and then just transfer money when I would get home.
Some how last month I had a $0.38 yes 38 cents balance. It was not paid so I got a $19.00 late charge and they want to up my intrest rate to 27% and put me on probation for 1 year.
I thought it was a mistake and called costumer service told me I had 2 options take it or leave it. Well I left it. I do believe that just wanted to get rid of me because they were not making any money off of me. I thought maybe I should have keep it and keep using it like I was paying it off right away.
But I thought do I really want to do busniess with a company like this. No
You might be reading this and say well it was just him or there is more to the story. But there is not and you just might be next.

The truth is they have offended some of the biggest names in technology, leaving there technical reputation in the toilet. They can only rely on mutual profiteering for a customer to get past their sales arrogance.

For a public company they sure treat there shareholders like crap, and their employee base is almost the who's who off fiscal incompetence. You can only agree that laying off 4000 US workers and accepting TARP, then giving big bonuses without the sign off of shareholders, is fiscal incompetence.

Legalized corruption at the highest levels. The corruption is so insidious. There is a business partner who has made billions to fund its fast following technologies, using Amex as its finance cartel. If you look at the two companies in the last 10 years, you not only find a series of federal gag orders over money laundering, insider trading, hedge fund fraud, hedge fund misuse etc......

Amex is on its way out as a US company, this is why its current executives have prefixed "Global" to their titles.

If you walked the isles of Amex today, you will only find unhappy employees, and the oblivious.

You are correct about corruption. After talking to the Ombudsmen and Employee Relations about some serious corruption, Amex fired me, in fact the corrupt leader called me and told me not to come into work the next day, without any reason. They gave me redundancy in exchange for a signature. So watch your back.

Major Sponsor of Indian corruption. Head of their major outsourcing team was dismissed from Amex for alleged sexual harassment. He then proceeded to provide offshore benefits for Indian managers who could influence outsourcing expenditure. (Kickbacks) Several senior people arranged a big a check to keep silent and leave the company.